Ruling clears way for Brundidge landfill lawsuit to continue

Published 11:00 pm Friday, May 24, 2013

Brundidge’s attempts to stop the sale of the Brundidge landfill will live to see another day in court, thanks to a judge’s decision this week.

Pike County Circuit Judge Thomas E. Head on Thursday denied a motion by Coffee County Commission to dismiss the filed by the City of Brundidge Solid Waste Disposal Authority. The suit seeks to to prevent the sale of the Brundidge Landfill to Brundidge Acquisitions without a host government agreement.

The Brundidge Landfill has been closed since June 2012 due to the bankruptcy of the landfill owner, Transload America. Brundidge Acquisitions and the Coffee County Commission are attempting to purchase the landfill at a reported $4.1 million.

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However, the City of Brundidge opposes the sale without a host government agreement and also believes that the state code and the state constitution preclude one government from doing business in another government’s jurisdiction without the expressed approval of the governing body of that jurisdiction.

The City of Brundidge contends that Brundidge Acquisitions plans to purchase the landfill and close it, therefore, Brundidge and Pike County will have to continue to haul their solid waste to the Coffee County Landfill at considerable cost and at a loss to Brundidge, the host government.

Regardless of the outcome of what could be a long court battle, Coffee County stands to gain, said Britt Thomas, Brundidge city manager.

“By tying it up in court, the Coffee County Landfill gets an extra 225 tons a day and that amounts to about $750,000 a year,” he said. “They are looking at it from a financial standpoint and so are we. The longer the landfill stays closed, the more money the City of Brundidge and Pike County have to spend to haul our garbage.”

Dorman Walker, attorney for the City of Brundidge, said the ruling on Thursday means that he will now do some discovery, focusing on the mysterious relation between the Coffee County Commission and Brundidge Acquisitions.

Walker said Brundidge city officials believe that Brundidge Acquisitions is just a shell corporation for the Coffee County Commission.

Thomas said that the City of Brundidge has confirmed that Morris B. Armstrong of Ozark is the owner of Brundidge Acquisitions. “We also know that he has never owned or operated a landfill,” Thomas said.

Walker said that he expect all sides will move for summary judgment.

“Certainly, I expect the City of Brundidge to do so,” he said.